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Pondering Cultural Consolidation

[ Posted Monday, January 16th, 2017 – 17:43 UTC ]

Today is when America celebrates Dr. Martin Luther King Junior's birthday, so I thought it would be an appropriate day to discuss a cultural change in America over the polite terminology used to identify what might be called characteristics of (take your pick) race, ethnicity, or cultural identity. I'll warn you from the start, however, that this is not the usual discussion most people would associate with today's holiday, but rather something which has left me scratching my head trying to figure out the reasoning behind. I will begin with one of the usual discussions people have today, and then branch off from there, in an attempt to relate it all in a loose fashion to Dr. King's holiday.

Ready? Here we go. Race does not exist. There is only one race -- the human race. In scientific taxonomy, "race" is not even a category. Humans are, in descending order, part of the animal kingdom, the vertebrate phylum, the class of mammals, the order of primates, the hominid family, the genus homo, and the species sapiens. There is no "race" in that list. All humans can interbreed with one another, meaning we are all the same species. Period.

Race is a social construct, not a biological one, in other words. Meaning that society can come up with whatever divisions it deems appropriate, but which also have no accurate scientific basis (even at the subspecies level).

Discussing racial identity and racial politics is fraught with pitfalls and historical hangovers (most of which are rather demeaning, at best). Not to mention inaccuracies, which also abound. A dark-skinned Jamaican who moves to America might be surprised to be labeled "African-American," since his cultural and ethnic identity is (if you want to use a geographic term) more Caribbean than African. This is unfortunate, but stems from the history of what the "polite society" term is for dark-skinned Americans. In rough historical order, this would be: negro, colored, black, Afro-American, person of color, and (currently) African-American. Each term, in its time, was the "proper" term to use in polite conversation. We all know the most common "improper" term, which is so heavily weighted with baggage and hatred that it is now only euphemistically used in polite conversation ("the N-word"). Nevertheless, Americans have settled on a geographical term (for the time being -- in another generation or two "African-American" will quite likely be seen as outdated and only exist in legacy form, the way that, for example, the "National Association for the Advancement of Colored People" is seen today).

Part of this is the cultural ignorance of Americans. To most Americans, there are only a few countries within the continent of African which are even distinguishable from one another. Barring wars we're currently fighting (or involved in, or interested in), there are really only two countries in Africa that any average American could even locate on a map -- Egypt and South Africa. That latter one is the easiest, because it gives a big clue to its location right there in its name. But how many of us could reliably place countries like Chad or Mali on a map? We simply don't make mental distinctions between African countries in the same way we do with, say, Europe. What is the difference between a Kenyan and an Algerian? Most Americans would be stumped.

There are historical reasons for this, stretching all the way back to early colonialism. Americans also (for the most part) have a very limited distinction between South Americans -- we tend to lump all of them together, as well, although not as universally. We do have some knowledge of the differences between a Columbian and a Brazilian, but would be hard-pressed to describe the differences between people from Uruguay and Paraguay. The bigger South American countries are more noticeable to Americans, in other words, but at some point, we just use the generic "South American" as a generalized description.

There's a side issue here as well, with the term "American." Technically, anyone from either North or South America is an "American," but that's not the way we think when we hear the term. We even exclude people on our own continent from this designation, because we have appropriated it to mean "citizens of the United States of America." This can be excused for linguistic reasons, since it'd be hard to come up with another designation that is as easy to say ("United Statesians" just doesn't trip off the tongue, in other words). Within our own continent, then, there are four designations routinely used in the U.S. -- "American" (meaning United Statesians), "Canadian" (those friendly folk north of the border), "Mexican" (our neighbors to the south), and "Central American" (because who can keep track of anything between Mexico and Panama?).

By a process of elimination, I have finally arrived at my main point. Two points, really, both of which bug me. The first is that there are only six continents. Africa, Antarctica, Australia, North America, and South America are the first five. "Eurasia" is the sixth. There is no Europe and there is no Asia, in the same way that Pluto is no longer called a planet. There is just one giant continent, from Siberia to Portugal. Europe is a cultural designation, not a geographic one. You could call Europe a "subcontinent," in the same way that India is routinely described, but that's as far as you can really take it, geographically-speaking. Again, how many of us could, if given a map with geographic features (but no country borders), properly identify where Europe ends and Asia begins? If one mountain range is enough to divide a continent, then we'd wind up with a lot more than seven continents, to put this another way.

But, historically, we have differentiated Europe from Asia. Russia, for instance, has always prided itself on being a European country, even though the bulk of its landmass lies in Asia. Go figure. But Americans don't usually genericize people from Europe in any way. We see people from France as French, not "European." Same goes for Germans, Italians, Spaniards, Brits, and all the rest. Culturally, they are pigeonholed by the country they hail from, not continentally.

Now, I'm not trying to make a point about why this is so -- a subject which would take far longer than one column to explore. There are historic and cultural reasons for this, let's just let it go at that. I mention it only because Americans' hyperspecificity over mentally classifying Europeans is much more prevalent than for any other continent (even though Europe is... hmmph... not actually a continent).

But if Americans routinely exercise a subconscious continental elitism towards Europe -- giving each country individual recognition that we don't extend to other continents -- then why is the trend towards Asia moving in the opposite direction?

Historically, the term "Oriental" was used to describe people from what was then called the Far East. But the oriental/occidental division is now seen as not proper for polite conversation (this actually happened quite a while back, I should mention). We then moved to more geographic terminology -- closer to the way we think of Europeans, in fact. Americans identified (and differentiated between) Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, Mongolians, Vietnamese, and Indians, for instance. Americans looking for a restaurant would routinely use such terms to describe these individual cuisines, to give perhaps the easiest example.

This didn't extend to all of Asia, though. Russians living on their Pacific Coast were thought of as "Siberians" more than "Russians," for example. But for the most part, the trend in certain parts of Asia was in the opposite direction, towards identifying people as members of whole regions, such as "Indochina."

But now, for some strange reason, labels such as Chinese, Japanese, and Indian are falling out of favor, as culturally Americans are now using the generic "Asian" instead. To me, at least, this doesn't make a lot of sense. It seems we're going backwards here, not forwards.

If the ultimate measure of respect is to treat individual ethnicities and countries as individual groups worth recognition (Irish, Mexican, Egyptian), and if lumping everyone together into a generic term is less respectful (Central American, African), then why are we moving from Chinese, Japanese, and Korean into the genericized "Asian"? Japanese culture and identity has virtually nothing to do with Indian culture and identity, but both are now routinely labeled "Asian" as if they shared some commonality.

The term is rather exclusive, as well, because it only extends so far west. Once you leave the Indian subcontinent, people become no longer "Asian" but rather "Middle Eastern." Again, Americans tend to lump everyone from the Mediterranean to roughly Afghanistan or Pakistan into this group, and most Americans would be puzzled by anyone saying: "Let's go get some Asian cuisine -- I'm craving falafel." So in reality, "Asian" is not being used for "everyone from Asia," but instead roughly for "everyone south of Russia, east of the Middle East, and north of Australia."

This seems rather baffling, because we've roughly returned to where we started. The overlap isn't perfect, but "Asian" seems to be used close to the way "Oriental" once was. Why one is demeaning and one is the newly-acceptable term in polite conversation is inexplicable. From "Oriental" we moved to differentiating between individual countries and cultures, so why are we now moving back? Why is Chinese food and Korean food now just Asian food? I have no idea.

Perhaps it is just political correctness trying to be overly sensitive -- that's really the only reason I can think of, but I truly don't know. Are terms like Japanese-American and Indian-American now seen as slurs by members of these groups? If so, this is a fairly recent development, which is why I thought it was worth discussing today.

I really have no answers to give, and I do realize this is not the usual racial/cultural conversation that takes place on Martin Luther King's birthday. But race is culturally defined, meaning that American culture makes up its own rules for politely discussing it as we go along. For the most part, however, this has been a movement towards the goal of greater recognition for individual cultures and ethnicities, which is seen as a matter of respect. It has historically moved from terminology which is now considered degrading (or even obscene) towards celebration of individual cultures in the most respectful and non-generic terms possible. So why are we going backwards for Asians? Do Vietnamese-Americans and Chinese-Americans and Korean-Americans consider this a step forward, or a step back? Again, I have no idea -- I admit my own cultural ignorance.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

82 Comments on “Pondering Cultural Consolidation”

  1. [1] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    American !?!
    Screw that. I'm from Jersey.
    Even though we think of ourselves as Americans let's not forget that originally we were the United States of America and the residents of each state thought of their state as a country and themselves as Jerseyans(?), Georgians, etc.

  2. [2] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Hillary Clinton/ Odell Beckham cartoon
    http://youtu.be/bpV8nhHsXx0
    (last character not the capital letter O but the number Zero)
    I was only able to post as a slide show on Youtube. The downside is that the picture zooms out before it can be read. You can view the cartoon by restarting and immediately pausing.
    My apologies if you find the effort was not worthwhile.

  3. [3] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Oops.
    Left out the s in beginning of address.
    https://youtu.be/bpV8nhHsXx0
    Is there any way left that I can make it more difficult?

  4. [4] 
    neilm wrote:
  5. [5] 
    neilm wrote:

    Has anybody studied the difference in need to sub-categorize people - it seems some people need to create sub-groups more than others.

    I've not seen any research on this, but if anybody knows of some please point me in the right direction.

  6. [6] 
    neilm wrote:

    CW: you were looking for ideas for the layout of an updated page. The comments section in the ozy link above is a good format. They have a main comment then a few replies then the next main comment. It seems to be only one level deep (i.e. you don't get sub-threads of sub-threads).

    Anyway, an idea.

  7. [7] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I have to vehemently disagree with that comment format idea, Neil ... that creates a mess.

    What we have here is the best I've seen ... we just need a post-comment edit function that lasts for just 15 - 30 minutes after you post.

  8. [8] 
    altohone wrote:

    Hey CW

    The taxonomy actually became slightly more interesting with the confirmation of Neanderthal genes in us and the possibility of Denisovan... but that is veering off topic.

    I've never heard anyone say "let's go out for Asian food".
    Where did you hear this?
    Or the going backwards to the more general term, er, generally?

    I mean, was it in discussions with friends, overheard on the street, comments online?
    It doesn't seem to make sense, so I am curious.

    As for the country distinctions, outside of heritage, American familiarity seems to correlate to where we've fought wars to some extent.

    A

  9. [9] 
    chaszzzbrown wrote:

    I wonder how much our more general use of these idioms is ultimately rooted in an unconcious attempt to describe our ever evolving desire for what we want to have for lunch. "You said we were having Asian food! I wanted lamb curry!"

  10. [10] 
    michale wrote:

    You hit the nail on the head twice, CW!! :D

    Race is a social construct, not a biological one, in other words. Meaning that society can come up with whatever divisions it deems appropriate, but which also have no accurate scientific basis (even at the subspecies level).

    I never really thought of it that way, but.... DAAAMMMMNNNNN THAT'S GOOD!!!

    It goes a long way to explain the cause of all the strife, which you show in your next nail-head hitter..

    Perhaps it is just political correctness trying to be overly sensitive -- that's really the only reason I can think of, but I truly don't know.

    Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding!!! We have a winner!!! Tell 'im what he's won, Johnny!!!

    Political Correctness is one of those things that this country could REALLY do without...

    I don't much hear the "Asian" designation except from those....er... of a disagreeable political persuasion.. I haven't noticed a trend towards replacing Japanese/Chinese/Korean/etc with "Asian"...

    Maybe it's a California thing?? :D

    Great Commentary, CW... :D

  11. [11] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    What about the original inhabitants of the America's? You know, the ones who found Columbus on their shores, all those many years ago ...

    Now, there's a cultural discussion and a half that we all need to have!

  12. [12] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    The America's? The America's what!?

    See? This is precisely why we need a post-comment edit function around here. What time is it, anyway?

  13. [13] 
    michale wrote:

    Has anybody studied the difference in need to sub-categorize people - it seems some people need to create sub-groups more than others.

    yea... They're called liberals.. :D

    Heh... Couldn't resist.. Not that strong.. :D

    CW: you were looking for ideas for the layout of an updated page. The comments section in the ozy link above is a good format. They have a main comment then a few replies then the next main comment. It seems to be only one level deep (i.e. you don't get sub-threads of sub-threads).

    Anyway, an idea.

    It's called FaceBook.. :D

    I actually kinda like the FB commenting structure.. It would have to be tweaked to work here in Weigantia, but there are definitely worst ways to do it.. :D

    Just to be clear.. I am not advocating that CW turn his commenting over to FaceBook.. That would be bad.. And I am NOT fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing.. :D But the mechanics of the FB commenting system are pretty solid..

    With regards to the content of the link itself...

    The chart does not assign causation, but it’s easy to point the finger at the, er, elephant in the room: globalization. It’s “a plausible narrative,” says Milanovi?. “The gains from such big forces like globalization are never going to be equal for everybody.” Over the past year, the chart has gotten much traction, with some arguing it explains the rise of Bernie, Trump, Brexit and all the rest of it.

    In other words.. For equality's sake, it's a damn good thing that the forces of globalization had their asses handed to them, eh?? :D

    Furthering my theme of inequality:

    It's been my experience that, if you look at the detailed history of anyone screaming about inequality, you will find that, somewhere in their past, they had frak'ed up and are the agents of their own inequality...

    Which re-enforces CW's comment (like how I came around right back to that?? :D) about race being a social construct...

  14. [14] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    We are either Earthlings or Asgardians. Some of us are both. Heh.

  15. [15] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Just to be clear.. I am not advocating that CW turn his commenting over to FaceBook.. That would be bad..

    That wouldn't be bad. That would be unfathomably abysmal, to say the least.

    We just need an edit function. Everything else is good.

  16. [16] 
    michale wrote:

    We are either Earthlings or Asgardians. Some of us are both. Heh.

    :D

  17. [17] 
    michale wrote:

    I identify with being Klingon and I wish the society would allow me to do that... :D

  18. [18] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    No joke! I mean that sincerely.

    I'm not trying to be facetious, here.

    Seriously. I can't be the only Asgardian in Weigantia. Can I?

    Hmmm ... an Asgardian in Weigantia ...

  19. [19] 
    michale wrote:

    Seriously. I can't be the only Asgardian in Weigantia. Can I?

    You just might be.. :D

    Hmmm ... an Asgardian in Weigantia ...

    Say THAT 3 times fast... :D

  20. [20] 
    michale wrote:

    You excited about the upcoming THOR movie, RAGNORAK?? :D

  21. [21] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I'm just not into Thor ...

  22. [22] 
    neilm wrote:

    Political Correctness is one of those things that this country could REALLY do without...

    There is "political correctness" and there is extreme "political correctness". The traditional meaning is to avoid insults like the N-Word and other racial epitaphs.

    The extreme end is to shut down speech.

    Needless to say, the term is used at its extreme by extremists.

    Are you advocating the common use of racial epithets Michale?

  23. [23] 
    michale wrote:

    There is "political correctness" and there is extreme "political correctness".

    And I submit to you, WITH the facts to back it up, that the Left Wingery enmasse has succumbed to EXTREME political correctness...

    One only has to look at the snowflakes in our nation's colleges to know that this is factual...

    The traditional meaning is to avoid insults like the N-Word and other racial epitaphs.

    Nope.. That's the meaning for those who practice EXTREME political correctness...

    Avoiding insults like n-word and other racial attacks is not political correctness.. It's common courtesy..

    The extreme end is to shut down speech.

    Which is the entirety of the Left Wingery, from Climate Change to anything else the Left finds unpalatable..

    Are you advocating the common use of racial epithets Michale?

    Of course not.. I am advocating the common use of common sense and common courtesy, decency and respect..

    Calling tens of millions of Americans irredeemable deplorable racists SOLELY because of their political views is NOT common sense, common courtesy, decency OR respect...

  24. [24] 
    michale wrote:

    I'm just not into Thor ...

    It's funny you should say that.. While I was typing the question, I thought about how I have never been much of a Thor or Captain America or even Iron Man fan.. To me, growing up, they were regulated to the back row of super heroes behind Spiderman (my fav), Superman, Batman, etc etc.. Hell, I never even HEARD of Black Widow or Hawkeye....

    I have to hand it to Marvel, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans and Scarlett Johanessen and Jeremey Renner.. They really brought those super heroes into focus..

    For me at least... :D

  25. [25] 
    neilm wrote:

    John Brennan just slapped down Trump in the WSJ:

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/cia-director-john-brennan-rejects-donald-trumps-criticism-1484611514

    “Tell the families of those 117 CIA officers who are forever memorialized on our wall of honor that their loved ones who gave their lives were akin to Nazis,” he said. “Tell the CIA officers who are serving in harm’s way right now and their families who are worried about them that they are akin to Nazi Germany. I found that to be very repugnant.”

  26. [26] 
    neilm wrote:

    Of course not.. I am advocating the common use of common sense and common courtesy, decency and respect..

    Sounds like political correctness to me.

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/politically%20correct

    How's it feel to be a snowflake Michale?

  27. [27] 
    michale wrote:

    Trump already slapped down Brennan a few days ago...

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2017/01/13/ftp421/#comment-91898

    “Tell the families of those 117 CIA officers who are forever memorialized on our wall of honor that their loved ones who gave their lives were akin to Nazis,” he said. “Tell the CIA officers who are serving in harm’s way right now and their families who are worried about them that they are akin to Nazi Germany. I found that to be very repugnant.”

    Apparently, you didn't find it repugnant when the Left Wingery slammed the CIA as Nazis when the CIA was torturing terrorists for actionable intel...

    That's why I really don't believe the indignation of the Left Wingery and everyone (who is indignant) here..

    Because I know that it is solely based on Party ideology...

    Sounds like political correctness to me.

    Of course it does.. To an extremist, EVERYTHING sounds like political correctness...

  28. [28] 
    michale wrote:

    Of course it does.. To an extremist, EVERYTHING sounds like political correctness...

    Everything except what they do.. :D

  29. [29] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I have to hand it to Marvel, Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans and Scarlett Johanessen and Jeremey Renner.. They really brought those super heroes into focus..

    I've never really been into SciFi except for the original Star Trek, which I watched during its original run.

    But, I have come to really love the Marvelverse. They must be good to have hooked me!

    I have a link for you about a new series by James Cameron looking at the history of SciFi from the originators to the present. I'll look for it now ...

  30. [30] 
    michale wrote:
  31. [31] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  32. [32] 
    michale wrote:

    Apparently, you didn't find it repugnant when the Left Wingery slammed the CIA as Nazis when the CIA was torturing terrorists for actionable intel...

    And when Obama's CIA becomes Trump's CIA, then the Left Wingery will be back to calling the CIA "Nazis" like they did when it was Bush's CIA...

    "And so it goes.... and so it goes...."
    -Billy Joel

    :D

  33. [33] 
    michale wrote:
  34. [34] 
    neilm wrote:

    I've never heard anyone say "let's go out for Asian food".
    Where did you hear this?

    I hear the term "Asian-Americans" fairly frequently.

    There is also areas of education such as: Asian American Studies Center University of California, Los Angeles

    Asian as a group is also used as a high level term in the census:

    https://www.census.gov/population/race/data/ppl-aa13.html

  35. [35] 
    neilm wrote:

    Of course it does.. To an extremist, EVERYTHING sounds like political correctness...

    Everything except what they do.. :D

    Mirror time Michale.

  36. [36] 
    neilm wrote:

    And when Obama's CIA becomes Trump's CIA, then the Left Wingery will be back to calling the CIA "Nazis" like they did when it was Bush's CIA...

    Granfalloon time again Michale? Didn't you read CW's article above?

  37. [37] 
    michale wrote:

    Granfalloon time again Michale? Didn't you read CW's article above?

    Yep.. Nothing about Nazis or the CIA...

  38. [38] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    "That ain't the American Way, buddy. No, siree. Listen here, professor. You're the one who need an American History lesson. You don't know nothin' about Lady Liberty standin' there in the harbor, with her torch on high screamin' out to all the nations in the world: "Send me your poor, your deadbeats, your filthy." And all the nations send 'em in here, they come swarming in like ants. Your Spanish P.R.'s from the Caribboin, your Japs, your Chinamen, your Krauts and your Hebes and your English fags. All of 'em come in here and they're all free to live in their own separate sections where they feel safe. And they'll bust your head if you go in there. *That's* what makes America great, buddy." - Archie Bunker

  39. [39] 
    goode trickle wrote:

    CW-

    Context certainly plays a part. I don't really look at the broader high level ethnic titles as ascribing to a brand of political correctness or moving backwards. I look at it more as a progression of how many approach things as our culture has become more diverse.

    If I am giving a presentation on certain aspects of culture for a meeting, I will often use the high level term, I.E. " These are Central American trends and practices to be aware of..." now to carry it further I also then usually will also say " here are some of the local regulations and customs in El Salvador..." Or in the case of the Asian Cuisine thing I tend to use the high level to identify a type of food from a geographical region that I want so say I am in Lima or even Miami I will make the statement " let's grab Asian for lunch." to which the response usually is there is a great Japanese spot up the road or I know a great Korean BBQ ... Ultimately this saves time because there may only be Chinese where I am at.

    Just as if the discussion is specific to a country I am not using those high level identifiers as that would be insulting to those involved but at the same token I am also not using the "-American".

    When it comes to ethnic identification I tend to notice that the people I associate with tend to identify as just their ethnic origin sans the hyphen. It is assumed they are American first and ethnicity comes second. Perhaps this is due to just my unique set of experiences or perhaps it is generational. In either case I have not really seen any of my associates uncomfortable or insulted by the use of these generalized terms and in many cases use them as well, the use of these generalized terms can be used to open a conversation to find out more about a person.

    Perhaps the question needs to be re-framed as to weather or not the need and drive to assign ethnicity is a generational one...

  40. [40] 
    neilm wrote:

    Granfalloon time again Michale? Didn't you read CW's article above?

    Yep.. Nothing about Nazis or the CIA...

    Exactly, so why did you even say that Left Wingery did?

    Tut, tut. You know the use of granfalloons is politically incorrect, right? ;)

  41. [41] 
    michale wrote:

    Exactly, so why did you even say that Left Wingery did?

    Because YOU brought it up by quoting another Obama sycophant, Brennan...

    Brennan was whining and crying that Trump was being a meanie and calling the CIA nazis..

    You defended Brennan in his whining and crying, forgetting that the Left Wingery called the CIA Nazis when it was Bush's CIA...

    You brought up the CIA and the nazis in an attempt to disparage Trump.. I pointed out the hypocrisy of your disparagement...

    See?? Simple... :D

  42. [42] 
    altohone wrote:

    neil
    34

    The other examples you offer make sense to me.

    But I don't crave food by region.
    If I want Thai, Chinese doesn't cut it.

    A

  43. [43] 
    neilm wrote:
  44. [44] 
    michale wrote:

    Obama gives Bradley Manning a GET OUT OF JAIL FREE card...

    A big and mighty FRAK YOU!!! to the US military...

    Looks like Snowden and Assange are next on Obama's BJ list...

    :^/

  45. [45] 
    neilm wrote:

    Avid readers of my petty spats with Michale will know that I've tried frequently and unsuccessfully to ask him his top three expectations of Trump and how he will measure them. I suspect he has as little confidence in Trump's ability to deliver (say it ain't so Michale) as I do which is why he gives generic answers like "respect the police" etc.

    The next post will be the site I use to judge Trump on his campaign promises at least. Of course I will use other methods to judge his success (e.g. does he start a trade war with France because they banned Trump Cheese because it was too smelly even for them, or invade Scotland for building windmills that spoil the view from his failing golf courses, etc.).

  46. [46] 
    neilm wrote:
  47. [47] 
    michale wrote:

    The next post will be the site I use to judge Trump on his campaign promises at least.

    The mere fact that you are using WaPoop to judge Trump shows how far off the reservation you have gone..

    To put it into it's proper context, it would be as if I used Breitbart to judge Obama's effectiveness....

    Seriously... You might as well use HuffPoop or CNN to judge Trump...

    WaPoop is the EPITOME of fake news....

    But, I am not surprised that it's your choice... :D

  48. [48] 
    neilm wrote:

    Looks like Snowden and Assange are next

    Snowden (and Assange) hasn't been convicted of a crime so can't be pardoned or have their sentence commuted.

  49. [49] 
    michale wrote:

    Tracking Trump's Promises:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/trump-promise-tracker/

    That's just like the Obama Promise Tracker the Right Wing nutjobs used....

    I tell ya, ya change Trump to Obama and ya'all are acting *EXACTLY* like the GOP acted in 2009... :D

  50. [50] 
    michale wrote:

    Snowden (and Assange) hasn't been convicted of a crime so can't be pardoned or have their sentence commuted.

    Actually, they can be pardoned...

    Hillary can be pardoned, even though she hasn't been convicted of anything...

  51. [51] 
    neilm wrote:

    The mere fact that you are using WaPoop to judge Trump shows how far off the reservation you have gone..

    You trust your sources of lies, I'll trust my respected news organization that fact checks and issues retractions when they get things wrong.

    Just because the truth makes your orange hero look bad isn't my problem.

    Plus you still haven't explained why you voted for Trump and how you will measure him on your expectations.

  52. [52] 
    neilm wrote:

    That's just like the Obama Promise Tracker the Right Wing nutjobs used....

    Boo hoo. C'mon snowflake, are we being politically incorrect by making sure that Trump is correct politically?

  53. [53] 
    michale wrote:

    Hillary can be pardoned, even though she hasn't been convicted of anything...

    THAT is going to be REALLY interesting to see if Obama pardon's Hillary...

    He's gonna have to do it PDQ... :D

  54. [54] 
    michale wrote:

    You trust your sources of lies, I'll trust my respected news organization that fact checks and issues retractions when they get things wrong.

    And they have been issuing a LOT of retractions lately.. :D

    That shows how un-credible they are as a source..

    But, as I said, I am not surprised yer using that... It's like someone using Brietbart as a source for Obama.. :D

  55. [55] 
    michale wrote:

    Plus you still haven't explained why you voted for Trump and how you will measure him on your expectations.

    Yes I have.. Several times.. You just didn't like it so you ignored it..

  56. [56] 
    michale wrote:

    Sorry... Was pulled away.. Grandbaby had the poopiest diaper in the history of the planet....

  57. [57] 
    michale wrote:

    But I guess ya'all didn't need to know that.. :D

  58. [58] 
    neilm wrote:

    And they have been issuing a LOT of retractions lately.. :D

    List them.

  59. [59] 
    neilm wrote:

    Yes I have.. Several times.. You just didn't like it so you ignored it..

    Then humor us and prove me wrong, list them out.

  60. [60] 
    neilm wrote:

    But, as I said, I am not surprised yer using that... It's like someone using Brietbart as a source for Obama.. :D

    Except it isn't. This is where right wing lies are not equal to impartial facts.

    Just because impartial facts are not to your liking, you don't get to equate them with right wing lies. There are left wing lies as well, but apart from yanking your chain with a "golden shower" I don't traffic in them.

    This is a problem the press has to deal with. There has been a concerted effort by the right wing to brand the press as just like Breitbart or Stormtrooper ;), etc. but you may fall for false equivalencies, but I don't.

    This is the bubble that you live in, and it is your problem when you realize that voting for tax cuts for the $250+ crowd isn't going to really help, especially when your healthcare goes into the toilet.

    Ho hum.

  61. [61] 
    neilm wrote:

    “Anytime I hear border adjustment, I don’t love it,” Mr. Trump said. “Because usually it means we’re going to get adjusted into a bad deal. That’s what happens.”

    Go Donald!

  62. [62] 
    neilm wrote:

    The Republican's corporate tax proposal, if enacted in full is excellent with one issue - they set the rate too low (20-25% instead of 30%), so we will se a $1T decline in incomes over the next 10 years.

    The trick will be getting Trump to agree (see above) to the border adjustment (without which all investment will go overseas) and getting the WTO to classify the DBCFT as a VAT and not an income tax (setting the rate well below the top rate for income means that many organizations will eliminate wages and replace them with dividends (I think, I get a but cloudy at this level of detail).

    Anyway, a good proposal, needs a realistic tax rate and the WTO and Trump's signature, but these are not insurmountable problems. The democrats can up the rate in 2020 if the Republicans have given away the farm at our kids' expense.

  63. [63] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    This is the bubble that you live in, and it is your problem when you realize that voting for tax cuts for the $250k+ crowd isn't going to really help, especially when your healthcare goes into the toilet.

    ..and will seriously tie Trump's hands, if he really wants to do some of the things he says he wants to do, like build-out our infrastructure or build a wall across the US southern border. Trump says he wants Trumpcare to cover everyone, like Obamacare, but with red states participating for a change. That would require some investment by the Government. At this point, unless the GOP wants to just completely blow up the budget, they might have enough wiggle room for one tax cut and nothing else, and still hit their own spending targets. If they try to get around that by cutting Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security they'll be risking their own political futures in the process.

  64. [64] 
    neilm wrote:

    Balthasar [63]:

    The promises made to get power coupled with the commitment not to impact the debt is so ridiculous that it will be interesting to see what the Republicans really do.

    My bet: the rich and big business will do really well out of the next four years. The debt will shoot up and some candy for the fanboys (a wall, Trumpcare - which will be Obamacare with a lot of the good bits missing, a middle class tax cut of a few hundred bucks) will be thrown in.

    Let's see if the electorate is smart enough to see thru this.

  65. [65] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Black people who live in Europe are not African Americans. And as Trevor Noah pointed out when he moved to the U.S., "I am not African American, I am African". White people from the US do no become "American Italians" the moment that they step off the plane in Rome!

    This all stems from our psychological need to separate ourselves from those that we view as "different" from us in any way. Look at how we use "liberal", "conservative", "Christian", and "progressive" these days to lump people into groups we have issues with. Michale is quick to refer to everyone here as "liberal" as he announces the ways that we as a collective unit think about issues, but you never see him say, "As conservatives, we believe..." Why is that?

    As a gay man from the Deep South now living outside of Seattle, who voted Republican until 2008, who was an ordained youth minister and is married to a police officer, trust me when I say that I am all too aware of how we classify each other into little groups. I understand why Black Lives Matter just as much as I understand why Blue Lives Matter. I know firsthand that in conversations using the words "liberal" and "conservative" they could easily be exchanged with "faggot" or "nigger" and would not change the overall sentiment being expressed one bit!

    I end with a quote from one of the best movies for anyone who wants to understand what it is to be a teenager, The Breakfast Club, as I believe that it is at the heart of this whole conversation:


    "You see us as you want to see us—in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain...and an athlete...and a basket case...a princess...and a criminal. Does that answer your question?"

  66. [66] 
    michale wrote:

    I voted for Trump because he promised to make America great again.

    And, based on the current track record, he is fulfilling that promise..

    THOUSANDS of jobs created and saved...

    Time will tell if he lives up to the hype, but he is doing a bang up job so far....

    Yea, I know, I know.. You don't agree.. So what else is new...

    :D

  67. [67] 
    michale wrote:

    Except it isn't. This is where right wing lies are not equal to impartial facts.

    In YOUR opinion, it isn't..

    But WaPoop is no different than Breitbart when it comes to Fake News..

    This is well documented, based on the number of bullshit articles WaPoop has posted since Trump was election..

    This is the bubble that you live in, and it is your problem when you realize that voting for tax cuts for the $250+ crowd isn't going to really help, especially when your healthcare goes into the toilet.

    As opposed to the bubble YOU lived in where Hillary was going to win in a 50-state landslide??? :D

    Let's face reality my friends..

    When it comes to bubble-living, *I* am the *ONLY* one here with a PROVEN track-record of NOT living in a bubble... :D

  68. [68] 
    michale wrote:

    You see, Neil.. Here's the problem..

    You want an ideological checklist..

    Party boxes that you can check YAY OR NAY when it comes to Trump's performance as President..

    But your problem is two-fold..

    1. Trump is not ideological...

    and

    B. Neither am I...

    With you and the majority of Weigantians, it's ALL about ideology... Your's vs their's....

    I will judge Trump on a case by case basis, one issue at a time.. If he does great, I will crow to the high heavens and say so..

    If he fraks up, I'll condemn him til the cows come home...

    But what I won't do, what YOU want to do, is to peg him into an ideological box where if he does A, does B and doesn't do C, he is bad...

    Actually, to be more accurate.. Ya'all will condemn Trump no matter WHAT he does...

    This is well documented..

    So, no.. I can't give you what you want because what you want is unreasonable and illogical...

    Because YOU want me to condemn Trump no matter WHAT he does.. And, as you have proven with Trump's job saving and job creating, you won't give Trump credit for ANYTHING...

    Trump could push thru Single Payer Healthcare that is the biggest liberal's wettest dream, push thru a Constitutional amendment that raises min wage to $30 an hour, forces EVERY corporation to pay 99% in taxes to the poor and sign an executive order that totally disbands Wall Street and ya'all would STILL condemn him and wouldn't credit him with a damn thing..

    Ya'all *ONLY* care about the '-R' after his name.. Trump could do EVERYTHING that the Democratic Party and ya'all want and ya'all would STILL slam and attack Trump..

    This being totally factual, how is it that ya'all have ANY credibility when it comes to President Trump??

  69. [69] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    We classify people into groups for different reasons, but I believe there are TWO main reasons.
    The first reason is from the quote above: we want to lump others that we do not consider ourselves to be part of their community into the most convenient definitions and into the simplest terms.
    The second reason is the flip side of the first: we all have a need to feel like we belong to some group -- to be included.

    We clump all the different Native American tribes together with the old terms "Indian" or "Redskin" (which was actually how they described themselves when conversing with white settlers, but not the point). While those terms are no longer acceptable, clumping them all together "Native American" is no better to most tribe members. I spent three years living on the Crow Reservation in Montana. The different tribes are just that "different tribes" and should not be lumped together, according to them. Call a Creek tribe member a Sioux and get ready to be punched in the face.

    As a homosexual man, I have seen my community go from "Queer" to "Gay" to "Homosexual" to "LGBT" to "LGQBT" to "LGQBTSFGNABC123" to whatever it is today. And this is what we are doing to ourselves. (Reason 2) Back at my granddaddy's home in L.A. (Lower Alabama), we are still just "Fags".(Reason 1)

  70. [70] 
    michale wrote:

    CNN denounces "mediocre negros"....

    “Yeah, it was a bunch of mediocre Negroes being dragged in front of TV as a photo-op for Donald Trump’s exploitative campaign against black people. And you are an example of that.”
    -CNN analyst Marc Lamont Hill

    Yea... The Left is *always* on the side of black Americans..

    But ONLY the black Americans who toe their Party line...

  71. [71] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Michale,

    I will judge Trump on a case by case basis, one issue at a time.. If he does great, I will crow to the high heavens and say so..

    If he fraks up, I'll condemn him til the cows come home...

    You are going to condemn Trump when he does wrong? You've got a lot to catch up on, then. Trump is the man....

    Who made fun of a physically disabled reporter.

    Who lied about six million dollars in charitable donations to veterans’ groups from his telethon; who lied about donating his profits from The Apprentice, about charitable donations from The Celebrity Apprentice, and from "Trump the Game" to St. Jude Cancer Center.

    Who lied about why he wouldn't release his taxes, because he was being audited and proved himself a liar by saying he would release his taxes if Hillary Clinton released her e-mails; who lied about how much money his father gave him or helped him get, coming out of college; who lied about sending his private jet to ferry stranded U.S. servicemen; who lied about talking to the Attorney General of Florida, who declined to investigate Trump University after she was given a campaign donation; who lied about his business in Russia; who lied about meeting Russian president Putin; who lied about offering child care to his employees, when it was child care for his hotel guests; who lied about "some people" wanting a moment of silence for the murderer of five Dallas policemen; who lied about seeing thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating 9/11; who lied about 9/11 hijackers sending their wives and girlfriends home to Saudi Arabia.

    A man who has claimed he was his own best foreign-policy adviser; claimed that Putin will not go into Ukraine when he already invaded Ukraine in 2014; claimed the U.S. is paying rent for a military base in Saudi Arabia when the last one there closed in 2003; claimed that to avoid hacking, the military should stop communicating "on wires" and return to using messengers.

    A man who is planning on simply ignoring the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution. A man who is ignoring laws anti-nepotism laws.

    Have fun condemning Trump!

    (Thanks to Keith Olbermann for listing out most of these!)

  72. [72] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    [70]Yea... The Left is *always* on the side of black Americans..But ONLY the black Americans who toe their Party line..

    Context: Two sentences earlier, Professor Hill* said:

    “They keep bringing up comedians and and actors and athletes to represent black interests. It’s demeaning, it’s disrespectful, and it’s condescending.” He continued, “Bring some people up there with expertise Donald Trump, don’t just bring up people to entertain.”

    Bruce LeVell, a member of Trump's transition "diversity team" replied: “You weren’t even there… Pastor Darryl Scott, Mike Cohen, they are in the process of bringing all types of people from all over the country, from all different backgrounds. Remember the diversity coalition where we reached out to all different types of people?”

    Hill: “Yeah, it was a bunch of mediocre Negroes being dragged in front of TV as a photo-op for Donald Trump’s exploitative campaign against black people. And you are an example of that.”

    *Marc Lamont Hill is an American academic, journalist, author, and activist. He's a Distinguished Professor of African American Studies at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.

    So the headline "CNN denounces 'mediocre negroes'" is wildly inaccurate, to say the least...

  73. [73] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Not mediocre: Hill's wife.

  74. [74] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Excuse me. Hill's Girlfriend. Better!

  75. [75] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    LWYH [71]: (Thanks to Keith Olbermann for listing out most of these!)

    One thing you can always say about Olbermann: he knows his stats!

  76. [76] 
    altohone wrote:

    neil
    60, 62

    During the primaries, WaPo had one day where they published 11 hit pieces on Bernie with far from "impartial facts".

    Just like the NYT, they were in the bag for Hillary and violated journalistic norms to aid her tirelessly.

    Both outlets lost a huge amount of credibility during this election on the left and the right.

    Your praise for the GOP corporate tax cut proposal is disheartening despite the caveat that should have you condemning the whole thing.

    You wrote "incomes" but I believe you meant revenue, and a trillion dollar cut is massive and hard to reconcile with your praise given your recently restated concern about inequality... which these policies are a main driver in creating and exacerbating.

    A

  77. [77] 
    michale wrote:

    Who made fun of a physically disabled reporter.

    Have you ever made fun of anyone???

    Does that make you a bad person??

    Like I said..

    I will condemn Trump when I feel he deserves it..

    So far, you haven't listed anything that's condemnable..

  78. [78] 
    michale wrote:

    So the headline "CNN denounces 'mediocre negroes'" is wildly inaccurate, to say the least...

    So, black americans who are athletes and comedians are not "real" black people??? They are somehow only "mediocre negroes"??

    The headline was dead on balls accurate...

    Black Americans who don't toe the *I AM A VICTIM* line are not black enough..

  79. [79] 
    michale wrote:

    Trump could push thru Single Payer Healthcare that is the biggest liberal's wettest dream, push thru a Constitutional amendment that raises min wage to $30 an hour, forces EVERY corporation to pay 99% in taxes to the poor and sign an executive order that totally disbands Wall Street and ya'all would STILL condemn him and wouldn't credit him with a damn thing..

    In short, ya'all are going to treat Trump EXACTLY as ya'all claimed the GOP treated Obama...

    Democrats will become The Party Of NO....

    Who could have POSSIBLY predicted that??

    Oh.... wait.. :D

  80. [80] 
    michale wrote:

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C00VaKnWEAAnAMp.jpg

    Taxpayer funded party is over, people..

    Time for ya'all to get REAL jobs... :D

  81. [81] 
    michale wrote:

    When President-elect Donald Trump replaces Barack Obama on January 20, the Democratic Party will find itself more removed from power than at almost any point since the party’s creation.

    Scorned by the same voters who once embraced the New Deal, built the Great Society, and put their hope in the nation’s first black president, Democrats are now locked out of power in Washington and out of two-thirds of state legislative chambers across the country.

    Simply put, Democrats’ once vaunted coalition of the ascendant — younger, multiethnic, educated, and urban — failed them in 2016, and in 2014 and 2010 before that. That coalition proved to have major handicaps, part demographic and part geographic, that have been hollowing out the party for years.

    Democrats may find cold comfort in Hillary Clinton’s nearly 3 million popular vote lead and the fact that more people call themselves “liberal” than ever polled. And they can, and do, fairly protest a system of representative government that allows the government to be so unrepresentative of the popular vote. But it will be up to Democrats to solve their own problem within the current rules.
    http://www.nbcnews.com/specials/democrats-left-in-the-lurch

    Ya know things have got to be bad when the Party standard water carriers are so pessimistic...

  82. [82] 
    michale wrote:

    Neil,

    You asked what indicators I would use to show that Trump is doing a good job??

    Ford: 700 Jobs to Start

    As January began, Ford Motor Company went public to tell Donald Trump that they are ready to deal with the new administration and also noted that at least 700 new jobs were on the table with more to come as the year rolls onward.

    SAP SE: 400 Jobs

    German business-software maker SAP SE is adding nearly 400 jobs to its Pittsburgh and suburban Philadelphia facilities, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.

    Amazon.com: 100,000 Jobs

    Amazon is eyeing a huge expansion starting this year and recently announced it intended to add up to 100,000 workers to its retail staff in new facilities across the nation.

    Many of these jobs will be in brand new fulfillment centers the online giant plans to begin building this year.

    Lockheed Martin: 1,800 Jobs

    Aeronautics leader Lockheed Martin told President-elect Trump that it intends to hire over 1,800 new workers in the coming months.

    Indeed, Lockheed feels that its expansion will bring even more jobs indirectly. CEO Marillyn Hewson said of the new jobs, “when you think about the supply chain across 45 states in the U.S., it’s going to be thousands and thousands of jobs.”

    GM: 1,500 Jobs and $1 Billion Investment

    General Motors said this month that it is looking to re-invest in factories in the U.S.A. and will add some 1,500 or more jobs to its roster of workers. The plans will include a one-billion-dollar plan to build new manufacturing lines in the U.S.

    Bayer AG: $8 Billion Investment

    The Trump transition team is touting a commitment by German-based Bayer AG pharmaceutical company to invest an additional $8 billion in the U.S.A. in research and development in cooperation with Monsanto AG.

    The announcement came on the heels of a “very productive meeting” between the Trump team and Bayer CEO Werner Baumann and Monsanto chief Hugh Grant.

    Walmart: 10,000 Retail Jobs, 24,000 Construction Jobs

    Retail giant Walmart is eyeing an expansion plan to build new stores that will eventually amount to some 10,000 new jobs in outlets across the country. But it will also mean up to 24,000 jobs for construction workers needed to build the new stores.

    Walmart intends to build at least 59 new stores in fiscal year 2017, according to a statement by the company.

    LKQ: 150 Jobs and New HQ in Tennessee

    Publicly traded automotive company LKQ Corp is establishing a new headquarters in the Nashville, Tennessee, area. It is a sign that the company feels that the automotive industry in the U.S. is on track to grow in the age of Trump.

    And this list doesn't include the Carrier jobs Trump saved...

    He has done all this BEFORE EVEN BEING SWORN IN!!

    NONE of this would have happened if Hillary had won the Election....

    No matter how you slice it, Trump is doing a GREAT job as President Elect...

    What will he do as President??? The sky's the limit!!!

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